Topic: The Political Economy of Occupational Health and Safety Institutions in Africa: An Historical Perspective.
Globalisation and neo-liberal economic reforms have led to an increase in informal, insecure and often hazardous forms of employment in developing countries. Due to the unconventional nature and location of their work, informal workers are not protected by traditional Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) mechanisms. This has left an increasing number of workers vulnerable to preventable accidents and disease. Addressing this problem has been difficult because the nature, structure and position of OHS institutions in many developing countries act as a barrier to the effective implementation of an OHS system for informal workers. These institutions are in need of reform if OHS for informal workers in developing countries is ever to become a reality. However, before anything is done to change existing institutions, it is first necessary to understand how and why particular institutions have developed in the way that they have. The main goal of this research is to understand the social, economic and political factors, both within states and globally, which influenced the evolution of OHS institutions in Africa, and so begin the process of rethinking these institutions in a manner which is cognisant of the context in which they initially developed. This will involve an understanding of the role of France and Britain, as well as international institutions like the ILO and WHO, in propagating particular ideas about health and work, and of the ways in which these ideas came to be accepted and institutionalised by colonial and post-colonial African states.
Ms Alfers is a recipient of a Ford Foundation PhD research grant.
Health and Safety for Informal Workers
Alfers, L (2012) Health and sanitation is an economic right as well--just ask Ghanaian food sellers. The Global Urbanist More
Supervisor/s: Professor Francie Lund